Thursday, July 21, 2011

Crunch time

It might seem early to you, but in the past week or so I've noticed a certain nip in the air when I wake up for work. A hint that fall is rapidly approaching. We can generally expect the leaves around here to start changing in the last week or two of August, but the set-up for the change in seasons has already begun. Autumn is not only my favorite season (the colors! and that feel in the air, the almost-cold) but it's also the time of my rapidly approaching wedding.
Our friends' wedding this past weekend was a reminder of all the things we still have to do. Pick out music, coordinate with the caterer, set up hair/makeup/tuxes, etc. ad nauseum.
So how does my wedding fit into my goals of reducing waste, eating locally, and being affordable? Well, big parts of it don't. For one thing, I couldn't find any local caterers that source much of their food locally. The best we can really do for that is to pick seasonally appropriate food. I love our caterers, who offer things like seasonal fruits and vegetables. It's helpful to know that they're interested in that, too. (And buying seasonally really, REALLY helps with keeping costs down here.) I couldn't find locally sourced flowers, either, until after I'd contacted one of the florists. Now I'd just feel bad about cancelling that order.
I did find invitations that were both affordable and made from recycled paper. Of course, probably the greenest and most affordable invite would be an E-Vite, but somehow I didn't think my mom would go for that idea. (She hasn't wanted to contradict me in any ideas I've brought up, so she ends up pausing for a while and finally saying, "Well, you could do that. Or...." Amusing to me.) Another "green" idea is to do plantable invitations, which biodegrade and have seeds in them. It's a more permanent invitation because the flowers will remind people of your wedding. However, knowing what I know about invasive plants, and knowing that I'd be sending invites all over the country (and a few to the UK), I wasn't sure it was such a good or green idea.
Both our cake and our wedding favors are being made by friends. When you have friends as talented as ours (one's a pastry chef, the other got a degree in general culinary arts), use them! It's far more affordable and I'd much rather have our money go to friends. Plus, this way I know we're getting exactly what we want.
For some things, I get to console myself that at least we're renting items rather than buying them outright. When would we use them again? Linens will be provided by the catering company. Sound equipment will be provided by our reception location, and who needs a DJ when you have iPods and friends? (One of our friends has kindly agreed to MC the reception.)
We tried to go with mostly local companies. The only things, actually, that haven't been from smaller, local businesses are my dress and our rings. (I couldn't find a dress I liked at the one local dress shop, and rings were hideously expensive locally!) For everything else, we found out that local really is better. Since Fairbanks has unique challenges, locals have much more knowledge of what's needed.
As for budget, I tried to get some hard numbers out of my parents but that wasn't happening. So my outline for the budget was simple: don't put Mom and Dad in the poorhouse. It helps to stop looking at wedding magazines, which are just there to make you buy more stuff, and make it seem like you have to have all these things or, OMG, your wedding and therefore your life together won't be perfect!!!! The only wedding magazine I would recommend is "Real Simple", because it was just an overview of things that you should get (like, you know, someplace to hold the ceremony) and some ideas of things you could try. There were zero products in there for sale. As for everything else, I ask myself two simple questions. Will this make our wedding day better or more memorable in some way? Will this make our marriage stronger? If the answer to those is no, then it's not necessary and I won't get it. For instance, buying monogrammed silver cake servers isn't going to make our wedding any more special. I don't need to shell out $50 for something that I don't actually need. (And our friends who just got married have graciously offered to lend us theirs, which her mom bought for them. Ours will be the third wedding they've been in.)
One thing that we haven't gotten: a limo. Our ceremony and reception are at the same site, so we didn't think it would be worth it to get a limo. (And I'm not even sure if a limo could get out there. Maybe the Suburban limo, but who wants that monstrosity?) Plus, this gives our friends a chance to decorate our truck in time-honored tradition. I always think it's fun to see tin cans tied to the back, bows on the bumper, and "Just Married" scrawled on the windows.
Shane has set up one thing to make our wedding uniquely Alaskan. At my brother's wedding last summer he joked, "I want to have a pre-wedding moose hunt." Well, the time of year we (really, I...a reminder to myself that I need to compromise more) chose to get married is right at the beginning of moose hunting season. They're putting very strict limits on the hunt this year, but Shane and the guys will go the weekend before our wedding. If they get something, great. If not, not. It's more the fun of it, and the idea of a pre-wedding moose hunt. I'm thinking this should become family tradition.

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